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The Parameters of Enslavement and the Act of Forced Marriage

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During several recent conflicts, such as the ones in Sierra Leone, Cambodia, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, women and girls – but sometimes also men and boys – were abducted and enslaved into so-called forced marriages. The Special Court for Sierra Leone issued several judgments in which it discussed the legal qualification of the act of forced marriage. In its most recent judgment, the trial judgment in the case against Charles Taylor, the Trial Chamber held that forced marriage amounts to sexual slavery. This article briefly discusses the relevant case law on forced marriage and examines the Trial Chamber’s conclusion in the Charles Taylor Judgement that forced marriage is a form of sexual slavery. For this purpose, the definition of enslavement is analysed and the parameters of this crime are set out. Building on the reasoning of the Trial Chamber in the Taylor case, the article concludes that forced marriage does indeed amount to a slavery crime and is best qualified as the broader crime of enslavement.

Affiliations: 1: Doctoral researcher, Department of Criminal Law, Tilburg University, the Netherlands

10.1163/15718123-01304005
/content/journals/10.1163/15718123-01304005
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/content/journals/10.1163/15718123-01304005
2013-01-01
2016-12-03

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